Contested Soils (working title) is a long-term, collaborative, audio-based artistic research & creation project which fuses vernacular oral history, re-recorded archival texts, archival music recordings, field recordings and sound design to investigate and evoke the belgian colonial occupation of the North-East of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) during the period 1908-1940.
We aim to sonically investigate, evoke and conjure up 3 things :
daily life in rural Congo under colonial occupation ;
the epistemic murk created by the colonial re-organisation of mind & territory ;
and the long shadow of colonial occupation on soul, spirit and soil of the ex-colonised and the ex-coloniser.
It is a kind of sonic archeology.
To do this we go back to the most basic way of collective remembering and (hi)story-telling :
sitting in the dark together, listening to voices telling stories.
This project is a collaboration between Koenraad Ecker, Haldi Okudheyo and Rey Sapienz.
It is a long-term research project and is currently a work-in-progress.
This project has received financial support from the Berlin Senate and the Flemish Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Other partners are the MRAC (Tervuren, BE), the INMC (Kinshasa, DRC) and Nyege Nyege (Kampala, Uganda).
Archival scan of a map of the "Hutereau Expedition" (1912-1914)